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Kathy Barnstorff
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
(Office: 757/864-9886/Cellular: 757 344-8511)

Jonas Dino
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
(Office: 650/604-5612)

RELEASE: 04-031

May 13, 2004


Airline pilots will link up with air traffic controllers by computer in NASA laboratories on opposite sides of the country this summer to evaluate new air traffic management technology.

Researchers using the newly created Air Traffic Operations Laboratory at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and the Airspace Operations and Flight Deck Display Research Laboratories at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., are studying ways to improve efficiency and reduce flight delays as demand for air travel continues to grow. One promising approach is to use advanced aircraft and ground technologies to supplement overburdened air traffic control systems. NASA calls this Distributed Air/Ground Traffic Management. This study is an important component of NASA's Advanced Air Transportation Technologies Project, under the Airspace Systems Program.

Media are invited to NASA Langley in Hampton, VA and NASA Ames in Mountain View, CA to observe a practice of the Distributed Air/Ground Traffic Management simulation experiment, May 20, 21, 24 and 25. For more information call Kathy Barnstorff at 757/864-9886 or Jonas Dino at 650/604-5612.

During the practice simulation, airline pilots and some stand-in researchers will be at computer workstations flying simulated aircraft into a mock-up of the Dallas Fort Worth airspace. Air traffic controllers, using new automation and data communication tools, will be able to see those aircraft on simulated air traffic control monitors. The pilots will use an experimental autonomous flight management system to plan their own routes to safely and seamlessly fit into the traffic flow.

During the formal simulation in June, researchers at Langley and Ames will not only observe the experiment but will also take extensive data to verify how well the system works.



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